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AIM: Take action today to avoid harmful new law on streaming


From: Paul Pacifico, CEO, Association of Independent Music

I'm writing to you today to ask you to take urgent action to prevent proposed changes to the law.  

On 3rd December, Kevin Brennan MP will present and call for a vote in Parliament for his 'Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians etc) Bill' - a proposal for new law.  This relates to the issues around streaming distribution and creator's incomes currently being raised across the industry, on social media and in the press. 

AIM understands that this bill will propose making changes to law to apply the system called 'Equitable Remuneration' to streaming, along with other changes such as blanket rights reversion mechanisms.  While we believe that this bill is well-intentioned, it is proposing an 'old world' solution that our analysis so far shows will have a significant negative impact on the UK's independent music community, including impacts on the incomes and careers of artists.   

Whatever the arguments, we do not agree that a vote should be taken before sufficient data has been assessed as to the impact of the proposed changes.  A government process is underway to deliver new research and any proposals that change the way streaming works should not progress before this process is completed and their impacts are fully understood.  Proceeding now with this Bill creates unnecessary risk – particularly for the independent sector. 

I know that many in the AIM community share concerns about issues raised in the debates around streaming. AIM has been vocal about many of them, proposing effective solutions, including through fostering independent digital licensing business Merlin, the WIN Fair Digital Deals Declaration and, most recently, the IMPALA 10 Points to Fix Streaming and AIM's Artist Growth Model

 Whilst streaming has grown rapidly in recent years it is by no means a perfect system. The market remains half the size it was at the height of the CD era, with the number of participants vastly increased. Additionally, the streaming market currently operates on a 'winner-takes-all' basis with 80% of revenues going to just the top 1% of participants and 40% going to the top 0.1%. 

We have legitimate concerns that the proposals in this Bill would benefit only a very narrow band of artists at a later stage of their careers and on legacy deals and those are already earning the most – the top 1%. It would negatively impact newer artists and those needing investment in the future.  

We do not believe it is responsible to vote on laws before a proper analysis takes place and especially in circumstances where that law could be deeply damaging to our members. It is for these reasons that AIM feels it is in the urgent interest of our community to defeat this bill. 

Instead, we advocate allowing the government processes, research and investigations already underway to run their course, followed by an evidence-led discussion on solutions and the future of the market. 

Please take 5 minutes to write to your local MP today with an automated online tool. 

We've created a template letter for members running independent music businesses and added it to a tool to help you easily send the letter straight to your local MP. 

If you are a self-releasing artist, we have a different letter template above for you to use. 

If your business employs staff or has signed artists who you think will want to support this action, we have templates and further information you can send to them. 

All of this can be found in this Info Page – which will take you to FAQs, all letter templates and the form to write to your local MP. 

Without action, we risk Parliament sleepwalking into agreeing legislation that doesn't fix the problems with streaming and unintentionally damages independent businesses and artists along the way. Please take action today.

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